The growth of low-cost carriers and the rapid rise of new air hubs will shape the future of aviation, Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew said at the opening of the Singapore Airshow Aviation Leadership Summit on Monday.
In Asia, low-cost carriers have grown from almost nothing 10 years ago to accounting for close to 20 per cent of the market today, he noted. The growth is even more "phenomenal" in South-east Asia, where such carriers account for more than half of intra-regional travel.
Regional air hubs have also been growing, he observed.
These two trends - the rapid growth of LCCs and the new hubs - will shake up the business and operating models of traditional carriers and air hubs, Mr Lui said.
Air navigation providers will have to manage more congested skies, with more frequent take-offs and landings. Hub airports will become more congested and more confusing for passengers, necessitating careful planning. Utilisation rates for aircraft will rise, and regulators will need to be more vigilant in ensuring that air travel remains safe.
To ensure safe and sustainable flight, governments must invest in infrastructure and manpower development, he said.
Air liberalisation is also critical to meet the growing needs of travellers, Mr Lui said.